All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

181

Vijay Iyer Trio: Accelerando

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
On the surface, Accelerando follows the same basic format as Historicity (ACT Music, 2009), the debut of pianist Vijay Iyer's working trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Though once again divided between Iyer's complex originals and some surprising covers, this eclectic sophomore session attains an even greater sense of cohesion than its predecessor, courtesy of a common aesthetic denominator. As Iyer states in the liner notes "This album is in the lineage of American creative music based on dance rhythms." From the rhapsodic crescendos of the pianist's "Optimism" to a phantasmagoric deconstruction of Michael Jackson's "Human Nature," Iyer and company re-imagine the role of rhythm in American popular music within the acoustic parameters afforded a traditional piano trio.

A gifted academic with numerous degrees to his credit (including a Ph.D in Technology and the Arts from University of California, Berkeley) Iyer is a post-modern Renaissance man whose cross-cultural collaborations have included a variety of artists, from AACM legends Roscoe Mitchell and Wadada Leo Smith to underground hip-hop artists Das Racist and Mike Ladd. Drawing inspiration from these disparate sources, Iyer's harmonically rich writing and crafty arrangements boast a sophisticated rhythmic sensibility; dynamic tempo shifts, modulating time signatures and interlocking counterpoint imbue his accessible themes with an adventurous and unpredictable foundation.

Serving as his primary rhythm section since 2005, Crump and Gilmore interpret the leader's challenging structures with gracefully understated virtuosity. Crump's pulsating bass lines and Gilmore's cascading salvos interlock with the leader's hypnotic arpeggios and quicksilver runs, their keen interplay generating a beguiling assortment of cantilevered cross-rhythms. The asymmetric pulsations of Heatwave's disco hit "The Star of a Story" and mesmerizing spirals of Iyer's "Actions Speak" are indicative of the trio's riveting approach towards a wide array of material, including intriguing renditions of tunes by Herbie Nichols and Henry Threadgill.

Two distinctive pieces originally scored for dance bring Iyer's concept full circle. The edgy title track, with its capriciously vacillating tempos, was conceived as part of the UnEasy suite for choreographer Karole Armitage. The other is a sublime gospel reading of Duke Ellington's "The Village of the Virgins," which was culled from The River, an opulent ballet score written for Alvin Ailey. Finding thematic concordance in such seemingly dissimilar source material, Accelerando is a masterful collection that balances high-minded conceptualism with heartfelt conviction.

Track Listing: Bode; Optimism; The Star of a Story; Human Nature (Trio Extension); Wildflower; Mmmhmm; Little Pocket Size Demons; Lude; Accelerando; Actions Speak; The Village of the Virgins.

Personnel: Vijay Iyer: piano; Stephan Crump: bass; Marcus Gilmore: drums.

Title: Accelerando | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: ACT Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Outsidethebox CD/LP/Track Review
Outsidethebox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 16, 2018
Read There Are Stars In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review
There Are Stars In Brooklyn
by James Fleming
Published: October 16, 2018
Read The Seasons of Being CD/LP/Track Review
The Seasons of Being
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 16, 2018
Read Passages CD/LP/Track Review
Passages
by Don Phipps
Published: October 16, 2018
Read Picture in Black and White CD/LP/Track Review
Picture in Black and White
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 15, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 15, 2018
Read "Northern Migrations" CD/LP/Track Review Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "Inner Core" CD/LP/Track Review Inner Core
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 21, 2018
Read "Saturday Night Dogs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Night Dogs
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 30, 2017
Read "Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 4, 2017
Read "The Unknowable" CD/LP/Track Review The Unknowable
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Welcome to the Club" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to the Club
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: July 30, 2018